pregnancy and parenthood

Accountability in Motherhood

Lately I’ve been gripping to a theme of accountability – something that has been either extremely easy or incredibly challenging since becoming a mother. I’m accountable to keep my baby healthy and happy, and the work to do that is on auto-pilot at this point. But I’m also accountable to my health and happiness, which is a never-ending challenge. 

Wellbeing to my son is a clean diaper, warm bath and fresh air filled with new sights and sounds.

Wellbeing to me is … well, so much more complex these days.

At first, after bringing him home, it was simply fueled by seeing him thrive. Knowing that I was meeting his needs. Rejoicing in the fact that I could do this mommy thing. I was succeeding at something huge.

But as we rung in the New Year and I began to evaluate my life, an overwhelming list of new goals took over as I discovered major gaps in my wellbeing. This feeling of accountability is so much more than pride in following through with resolutions. It is acknowledging that my health and happiness require the same level of care as those who I care for.

It’s not an earth-shattering revelation. It’s just harder to do as a mom for obvious reasons that are certainly not unique to me.

But at the end of the day, it’s a bit of an excuse that I have been riding on. My wellbeing is only compromised by motherhood when I allow it to be. My health is not a priority as a mother when I continue to push it to the back burner. My happiness is buried under the stressors of motherhood when I throw myself into unrealistic expectations. It’s not motherhood that is doing this. It’s just me.

When I take all the layers away, I discover that I can’t let motherhood control me. I have to be in control of my own motherhood.

My resolution for “less” has brought me this re-gained sense of control. In de-cluttering my home (about 10 giant trash bags and counting), I’ve freed myself from housework. In restricting time on technology, I’m more content with myself and more connected with my husband.

These two simple reductions have given me little chunks of time. These little chunks of time have stretched further for my wellbeing than I thought possible.

I actually worked out at home for 30 whole minutes while the baby watched with curiosity, rather then sitting down complaining about how it’s hard to get out of the house. I actually scheduled a hair appointment for myself without waiting until it turns into a total bird’s nest on top of my head. I took money that I otherwise would have spent shopping online and instead booked a getaway for our upcoming wedding anniversary. I sat down and finally started hashing out a concrete business plan for my long-term career goals rather than telling myself it’s a far-fetched dream. I even followed through with seeking help for anxiety, that, turns out doesn’t just go away by ignoring it.

It’s only January, and I’m already gaining so much by simply holding myself accountable.

Yes I am responsible for a tiny human being, and that is exhausting and draining and throws me out of balance all the time. But even on the tough days, I am still responsible for myself. I am realizing that this is a responsibility that will either make or break my motherhood.

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